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Ottawa is playing fantastic team hockey without Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson.

 

Daniel Alfredsson was great last night – it is pretty amazing how he is able to play at such an elite level this late into his career.

 

Robin Lehner was equally great in goal for Ottawa – he gave them a chance to win. Lots of NHL upside there, as I am sure most of you know.

 

Zack Smith had a goal and played 20 minutes – he is making the most of his top line opportunity alongside Alfredsson and Milan Michalek.

 

 

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Ondrej Pavelec was on his game last night, stealing two points for the Jets. He is incredibly mobile for a big guy, but consistency is still lacking in his game. Performances like last night show why the Jets invested so much money in him last summer.

 

Dustin Byfuglien played 27 minutes, scored a goal, and fired seven shots on net. There aren’t any other players in the league that can do what he does from the back end (outside of Erik Karlsson).

 

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Different season, same result for the Oilers. Blown out in Nashville last night. I won’t rehash what I always say about Edmonton, but it is time for some big changes there.

 

Hall and Eberle’s $6 million contracts kick in next year. A complete waste of their rookie deals.

 

Colin Wilson looks like a different player this year – he is starting to separate himself from the rest of the Predator forwards in terms of offensive ability. Nashville hasn’t had a go-to guy since Kariya left a while back, and Wilson is looking the part thus far in 2013.

 

He had four points last night.

 

Zack Boychuk scored a goal and looked good – he earned himself another game with his performance.

 

Devan Dubnyk was yanked after allowing two goals on 13 shots.

 

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It was bound to happen at some point – Chicago was lit up for six goals last night and finally lost their first regulation game of the season.

 

Matt Duchene’s bounce back campaign continues – he had four points last night.

 

Colorado was giving Chicago fits all night. Parenteau and Stastny also had great games, as did Gabriel Landeskog. Landeskog was playing a really gritty, feisty game, especially against Chicago’s top forwards.

 

Ryan O’Reilly won 11 of 16 faceoffs and also finished with two points.

 

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Viktor Fasth stopped 29 shots in a shutout victory over Calgary last night. He wasn’t tested a ton with high quality chances, but he did play a good game.

 

The $8 million man finished with a goal and an assist for the Ducks.

 

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My latest post for the Canucks website - Mason Raymond's quiet resurgence. Now if the Canucks can find a way to get their offense going.....

 

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Dobber gets some indirect love from Paul “Biznasty” Bissonnette for a punny Puck Daddy headline.

 

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I got some great OHL tidbits passed my way from Brock Otten, friend of the site and the man behind OHL Prospects.

 

Best player in the OHL:


Vincent Trocheck. He's a factor every time he steps on the ice, and he plays a TON of minutes in all situations. Plymouth has been playing some lights out hockey since they acquired him.


I think Ryan Sproul has been the best defenseman. He's able to do what he wants on the ice offensively at this point. Controls the pace of play. He can still make some mistakes in his defensive coverage, but he more than makes up for it with his offensive ability.


Best goalie, either Malcolm Subban or Jordan Binnington. Both have been fantastic. Neither of their clubs (especially Owen Sound presently after Belleville loaded up at the deadline) have been terrific offensively this year. John Gibson would have been in that conversation had he not gotten injured.


Some undrafted OHLers who may get signed as free agents:


Free agents...Charles Sarault was one of the top ones, and the Ducks already nabbed him.

 

I did a list back in January.

 

Most NHL ready OHL players:


I'll throw out a few names. I think Mark Scheifele is ready to make some sort of impact at the NHL level. He's still got room to grow physically, but his intelligence and skill level should make him an NHL player next year. Ditto for Boone Jenner in Columbus. His physicality should alone make him valuable as a 3-4th liner to start.


I think Ryan Strome has taken big steps forward this year too, and I'd be surprised if he wants playing an offensive role for the Islanders next year. I also think Sean Monahan is NHL ready and is a good bet to crack an NHL roster following his draft selection this year. He's a similar player to Sean Couturier who played in the NHL following his draft year.


Best fantasy OHL prospect:


I'd say if Ryan Strome is able to improve his acceleration and overall skating ability even more, he could be a very good point producing forward at the NHL level. Max Domi, while draft eligible this year, is another guy with an extremely high offensive ceiling. On the defensive side of things, Sproul and Ryan Murphy should be able to put up points at the NHL level. Murphy, perhaps even as early as next season. Tom Wilson could be a real wildcard there. His offensive game has grown a lot this year and he could certainly develop into one of those coveted players who gets you goals and penalty minutes.


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Some beauties here:

 

 

The Carl Soderberg news out of Boston is huge. Soderberg is 27 and the best player in the SEL (it isn’t close). He has top six upside and could step in right now on all 30 teams and be a positive contributor. I’m going to sit by my computer and wait for Yahoo to add him to their databases….

 

“We’ve been trying for five years to get him over here and it’s close,” said Chiarelli, who said the move wouldn’t stop him from continuing to explore the trade market. “He’s had a hell of a year and he’s grown into a big strong kid now, a man, and he’s told us that he feels he’s ready now. He’s a good player, big strong player. There are still some steps to go, but it looks good.”


I’d add Soderberg in any keeper league format if possible. A huge buy recommendation!

 

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Thanks to Dobber for covering me off for the past two days.

 

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Here are some good reads on how Andrew Cogliano remade his body last summer, and he is reaping the rewards this season with the Ducks.

 

On core training

 

And on his general training

 

I think I needed to switch things up. I felt like I was getting nagging injuries at the end of last year that were uncharacteristic for me. I was working with Matt Nichol in Toronto a few summers before that and Matt’s one of the best trainers in the world. For me I just needed to do a different thing, get away from what I was traditionally doing and give my body a new look and it worked really well. We focused a lot on core [strength exercises], we focused a lot on movement.


I think I take care of myself off the ice and I’m very diligent when it comes to that to prevent [the risk] of injury down the line. Also, I think I’ve been lucky. Some guys are just unlucky and get some injuries from time to time that are freak things. I try to avoid those and continue what I’m doing.


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Will Dallas prospect Emil Molin be coming to North America any time soon?

 

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The Jacob Markstrom era got off to a rocky start in Florida – the Panthers are about to go into fire sale mode, and that probably isn’t the best time to get your franchise goalie’s feet wet at the NHL level.

 

Markstrom better get used to seeing a lot of rubber.

 

There's no way to predict what Markstrom's fantasy impact will be in the second half of the condensed season, but due to injuries, he's here to stay. So if there's ever a time to get in on the ground floor with a potential hidden gem, that time is right now.


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A big reason for Vancouver’s struggles – their power play has gone silent.

 

There's a couple of things going on here that I think are worth pointing out. First of all, for the past five seasons Ryan Kesler has been Vancouver's most efficient power-play goal scorer (yes, more efficient than Daniel Sedin). Secondly, he's been Vancouver's leading shooter on the power-play for the past three seasons - in fact, he led all Canucks forwards in 5-on-4 shots taken despite playing on the second unit during the 2009-10 season.


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From Brendan Ross - here are 10 OHL players to watch for at this summer’s NHL Draft.

 

Sean Monahan, C (Ottawa 67’s)


It takes a special player to battle through the hardships that the lowly Ottawa 67’s have had to endure this season and Sean Monahan is exactly that – a special player. Monahan is a player you learn to appreciate more with each passing view of him, as his elite hockey sense and heady game become more prevalent as you dissect his game. Lacking an initial “get up” gear, Monahan is a good (not spectacular) skater that shows value in all three zones. He makes smart decisions with the puck, positions himself well and is equally adept as a shooter and player. With Monahan, a team will be drafting a player ready to become a professional and work to become the best player and teammate possible.


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Detroit defenseman Ian White hasn’t asked for a trade… yet. White thrived last season alongside Nicklas Lidstrom. So far, Life after Lidstrom isn’t going very well for him.

 

“I’m confident I can contribute,” he said. “I’m sure, from speaking with them, they’ve made it clear they want to keep me around. I just hope by keeping me around means putting me in the lineup. Hopefully, I get back in soon, and I forget about this.”


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The Eriksson-Benn-Jagr chewed up and spit out the LA Kings on Thursday night with an absolutely dominant performance. There aren’t many defensive pairings in the NHL that can handle the combination of size and skill that Dallas’ top line posseses.

 

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An interesting parallel – Antoine Roussel and Alex Burrows.

 

  • Both are French (Roussel from France, Burrows from Quebec).
  • Both were solid pests and scorers in the QMJHL.
  • Both were undrafted and spent time in the ECHL before breaking out in the AHL.
  • Both made their NHL debuts at the age of 23.
  • Both work really hard and possess hockey smarts.
 

Roussel doesn’t have Burrows’ skill or overall hockey ability, but he has found a home in Dallas. He won’t be a second line winger forever, but he has a lot of value because of his ability to do many things very well.

 

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If you are looking for a way to predict how a team will perform in the future, shot differential is a number to look at. Kent Wilson is a great writer and he does a good job of explaining statistics in a simple manner.

 

People who object to the term "luck" as used here don't seem to understand what it means. The word comes with an unfortunate connotation of "not deserving" or "completely random".


Outcomes in professional sports are weighted probabilities, not destinies, so it's entirely possible for the better team to lose on any given night or even over a brief sample of games, like a best of seven series, for no other reason beyond variance. There are also other influences beyond the control of the players, coaches and GM's of course: the officiating, injuries to key players, etc. Sports are interesting not only because of the action, competition and violence, but because they are a boiling cauldron of uncertainty. Sometimes the underdog wins. And sometimes it's not because of any particular failing of the favorite.

 

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Francois Beauchemin is starting to gain attention for his solid season. He’s up there with Letang and Kronwall for best defenseman in the league in 2013.

 

"It's good to see a guy like him getting rewarded," Sbisa said. "He's put in a lot of time in this League, and finally he made that jump to be an elite defenseman in this League. For the younger guys like me and Cam [Fowler], he's one we can look up to because every night it seems like he plays up to standards. You rarely see him having an off night; when he does, he responds well the next day. He's not flashy out there, just super consistent."


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The Detroit model of developing prospects as long as possible may finally be paying off in Jakub Kindl’s case. The former 1st round pick has taken a while to make it as a regular NHL defenseman, but he is starting to find his game in recent days/weeks.

 

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yougo said:

yougo
ramblings... One of the best ramblings in a long time , Jeff. Awesome read.

I'm so happy for Beauchemin, he got a hard time in Toronto but he as always been a rock solid defenseman.

As for Monahan, he really has the Couturier syndrome. He has fallen in mock draft because he has been over scouted IMO. He's going to be a stud.
March 09, 2013
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